Deutsch, Aegis Score With GM

NEW YORK General Motors has made two major agency changes, shifting lead agency chores on its corporate advertising account to Deutsch/LA and moving approximately $750 million in European media chores to Aegis Group.

London-based Aegis confirmed that its media operations added buying and planning for brands including Chevrolet, Saab and Vauxhaul/Opel. The incumbents were Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann and Initiative.

IPG successfully defended the business in a review against Aegis and others two years ago. But in the last two months, Aegis began making presentations to the automaker in a bid for the business, which covers 33 European markets, though no review was held, per sources.

Separately, Deutsch adds lead duties on GM’s domestic branding business from McCann Erickson. Both shops are owned by IPG.

McCann in Troy, Mich., continues to handle GM’s Buick and Chevrolet accounts overseas as well as its Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealer group advertising. It also remains on GM’s roster for future corporate branding assignments.

McCann has been the lead agency on the automaker’s corporate advertising since 2000, when the client shifted the business from the Detroit office N.W. Ayer was closing.

Billings on the assignment were undisclosed, but through the first six months of this year, GM spent more than $100 million on its corporate branding initiatives, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Sources said spending fluctuates from year to year, depending on GM’s needs.

The move came this week without a review.

Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey Calif., this month broke a campaign for the client’s new warranty initiative [Adweek Online, Sept. 6].

One 60-second spot shows frustrated urbanites in traffic jams in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. As a driver tunes to Jet’s “Get What U Need,” the GM vehicles, representing a cross-section of nameplates, levitate over the rest of the traffic and take off. The tagline for the campaign, delivered by actor Matt Dillon, who has been the company’s voice for Pontiac, is, “A new level of confidence.”

Deutsch/LA creative chief Eric Hirshberg called the spot a metaphor for “the elevation of the GM brand.”

“GM is fundamentally changing the way we market and sell our vehicles. We are very focused on addressing the quality perception gap between how consumers view GM cars and trucks and the reality of how beautifully designed and well engineered they truly are,” said Mike Jackson, GM North America vice president, marketing and advertising, in a statement today confirming Deutsch/LA’s new role. “The ‘GM 100,000 Mile Warranty’ campaign, which Deutsch helped us launch last month, is the latest example of this new level of confidence at GM today.”

Deutsch/LA won GM’s sports activation advertising for Nascar and Major League Baseball last fall.

This story updates and corrects an earlier item, noting that while Deutsch is now GM’s lead shop on corporate branding, McCann remains on the client’s roster for branding assignments.